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Dianna H's Story

My name is Dianna, and I am mother of 5 children (3 are birth and 2 are step-daughters). I work full-time as a crisis intervention counselor for substance abuse and live in Milford, Connecticut. I started getting sick about 4 years ago. I was a very active person and had many functions going at one time.

My husband and I bought a home 5 years ago and we were making many changes to the yard. In April of 1997 we started pouring cement for our patio, and do a lot of gardening, and weed slashing. It was during this time that I came down with an awful case of posion ivy. I was covered head to toe and my doctor put me on steriods. While the ivy was clearing up I noticed two large rashes above each knee, and asumed that it was part of the posion ivy.

The strange thing was after the posion ivy was long gone these rashes stayed. They were perfect circles (couldnt draw one that perfect) and very hot, like they had their own fever. I thought they were strange and kept showing my husband but never saw a reason to go to a doctor. During this time I also was having severe bouts of depression which would cause me to cry constantly.

My husband and I met with my gynecologist, and she put me on Prozac stating I had post partum depression(my son was 1 and 1/2 years old), but they assured me that it was temporary and I would be fine. The Prozac did nothing for me so I took myself off it. By August of the same year I was put on Zoloft, Welbutrin, Prozac, and some others as well for this awful depression, which they now diagnosed as Bi-polar.

By September I was waking up with severe arthritis which crippled me, and I remember thinking if turning 30 meant this I wasn't up for it. Driving was awful; I couldn't see and had painful headaches which caused me to pull over and cry many times. My memory was going and I would forget to put the car in park at the gas station, and still couldn't figure out why the car was rolling.

My neighbor's son was diagnosed with Lyme as well as three other families in the neighborhood and I was encouraged to go get myself tested. I didn't believe I had this disease but finally asked a walk-in clinic to test me to get this woman off my back. I was diagnosed with a chronic sinus infection and put on medication and told they would test me but were sure I didn't have Lyme.

Two weeks later I received a phone call at 9pm from the doctor, stating that I needed to stop all medication I was on and get to the pharmacy, because I had Lyme disease. I was shocked but never saw the connection to my mental state. I started the doxocycline immediately and stopped all other medications. I started getting severely sick from the medication but no one explained to me that it was a herx reaction. So I stopped treatment.

My body went through crazy reactions from all the anti-depressents, depakote, and antibiotics. I thought I was losing my mind. My primary care physician agreed. They again treated me for sinus infection, retested me for Lyme and said I was cured, and that 14 days of antibiotic treatment was sufficient. I would get better for a time but never back to myself.

I could barely function and went on a drinking binge for two days ( after being sober for 7 years), and wound up in a psychiatric facility. My poor husband, thank God for him! I accepted the fact that I had this bi-polar illness and continued medication, and was so tired that I would fall asleep while driving. They lowered my dose of med's and still I couldn't stay awake.

I worked only part time at this time and still couldn't make it through the week without taking a day to sleep. I had more MRI, CATSCANS, blood tests, allergy tests, and God knows what else performed, but I was a pitamey of perfect health (except that I was allergic to cedar). My kids were suffering and so was my husband. He would work, come home, cook, clean, and do homework while I slept.

Then he would try to comfort me. He never believed the doctors and told me daily that I wasn't crazy and we would find a doctor that would help us. I almost killed myself on many occassions falling asleep on the road, and my husband would talk me through the drive on our cell phone. As much as cell phones and driving don't mix, without it I would be dead.

I couldn't quit work. I had five kids to support as well as a mortgage and all that goes with it. My husband was working overtime to compensate for my days off. I couldn't even open a jar cause the pain was so bad. A year of this was wearing thin on the family but they were very supportive. Then I found this Web site. It was here that my husband and I started researching Lyme disease.

Everything that I ever went through was written or documented. I couldn't believe it. I was excited and scared at the same time. I remember thinking I'm not crazy, I'm not crazy!!! YEAH! I was obsessed with reading all the information available. I printed everything that pertained to me and brought my numerous prescriptions and the papers to my doctor.

My husband and I forced the doctor to look into this Lyme disease because many negative results were due to steriods and antibiotics (which I was on all year long for these chronic sinus infections). The doctor basically stated that he would test me again, but if nothing came back I would have to accept that maybe it was in my head. Oh and by the way, my bi-polar disorder was now changed to schizophrenia.

I was placed on antipsychotic medication that caused me to act crazy. I went off of those immediately. I think some specialist also diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. Well, the doctor ran all the tests and called my husband to tell him that they were all negative and he was sorry that there was nothing he could do, and I needed to continue with the psychiatrist.

I cried for three days straight but my husband the trouper, refused to accept the diagnosis. He kept telling me things like "how do you just become crazy and the physical pain you have is not fake? You were never like this. We are going back on the Net to find a doctor." Well people from this Web page started e-mailing me and encouraging me not to give up. I was directed to a Dr. in Ridgefield, Ct.

He was very expensive and we could not afford it, but my husband didn't care. I went, and he tested me psychologically and assured me that I was not crazy and definitely not schizophrenic. He put me on tetracycline and explained all the reactions I would have. He also said that my symptoms were part of Babesia, and he wanted to test me for it. This was in November of 2000.

I just got the courage to be tested three weeks ago and I am positive for Lyme and Babesia. I can't believe it. I am happy and grateful for this Web site and told myself I would write in if I ever got a positive end result. I am still sick, been out of work three days, but I am a valuable employee and they are putting up with my bad days.

This illness took a lot away from my spirit as a person, because the doctors disregarded it and would rather say that "5 kids and working full time can stress a person out," but I know myself differently. I know I am on the road to recovery. I can only stress to anyone suffering from this illness to not give up. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I went sled riding with my children last month and God how I missed physically interacting with them. We are looking forward to a summer of camping, biking, and hiking, which we couldn't do last year. I am still slower than before, but at least I can go and not sleep and cry in pain. Please e-mail me if you need support. Sincerely, Dianna H.

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